Triptych (Will Trent, #1)Triptych by Karin Slaughter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

this review refers to this book and three others that follow: Fractured, Undone, and Broken.

you can’t help but be intrigued by the protagonist: a dyslexic special agent who was abandoned as a child, who has enough scars to fascinate a torturer and enough issues to provide material for a battalion of psychiatrists. he’s an exotic mix of the admirable and the pitiable, to be sure.

each mystery in this series focuses on a different set of murderers and the issues behind their murderousness, tending heavily toward the abduction, torture, and murder of females between the ages of 6 and 35.

perhaps it has to do with having devoured four of them in a week, but the series has ultimately left me less than intrigued. the mysteries seem more or less like window-dressing for the romantic entanglements of the main characters. the gore and violence are either gratuitous or just inexpertly written–it takes as fine a touch to write violence as it does to write lovemaking. on the low end of the bar, it’s just shocking but titillating; it takes skill to make it meaningful, and i don’t think Slaughter has done so.

plus, i noticed by about book three that she’s starting to repeat herself. not just the facts of the characters lives, which i suppose must be repeated if one does not expect the reader to have gone through the whole series. but i mean in phrasing: i heard three times that someone had enough clothes in the closet to bend the rod, etc etc in precisely the same words. i can’t help it, i just… lose respect.

plus, women. the two polestars in Trent’s life are Angie and Sara, and if they don’t come down to a whore/madonna pairing then i really don’t know who would. Faith, Trent’s female partner, was last seen offstage having a baby and developing diabetes. i’m not saying that Slaughter can’t write women, but possibly just that she doesn’t seem to really see women… that madonna/whore thing just gets under my skin.

so, ya. they’re good enough books that i ate a few in succession, but not good enough to sit well in the gut. and i’ve no longer interest in plowing through the whole buffet.